Bush rewards his hired guns


THE White House revealed on Tuesday that US President George W Bush will reward partners in war crime Tony Blair, John Howard and Alvaro Uribe with the Presidential Medal of Freedom next week.

Spokeswoman Dana Perino announced that, in possibly the last act by the lame-duck president, former British prime minister Mr Blair will receive the prestigious award next Tuesday.

He will be joined by former Australian prime minister Mr Howard, whom Mr Bush once described as his “sheriff” in south-east Asia, and Colombian Premier Mr Uribe, under whose watch over 600 trade unionists have been assassinated and thousands of innocent civilians murdered and “disappeared” by the Colombian army and paramilitaries.

The prestigious award is the highest civilian honour in the US, alongside the Congressional Gold Medal, which Mr Blair was given in 2003.

Ms Perino explained that Mr Bush was rewarding the trio “for their efforts to promote democracy, human rights and peace abroad.”

She added: “Their efforts to bring hope and freedom to people around the globe have made their nations, America and the world community a safer and more secure world.”

But peace and human rights campaigners dismissed this warped line of reasoning. Respect MP George Galloway said: “What a grisly trio that is. It is a medal of dishonour.

“It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic. Bush and Blair have made the world more dangerous than it has ever been.”

Justice for Colombia secretary Liam Craig-Best pointed out that “Bush is showing utter contempt for the people of Colombia by awarding this medal to Uribe.

“It must be particularly galling for the hundreds of political prisoners in Colombia’s jails that the man responsible is receiving a ‘medal of freedom’.”

Stop the War Coalition convener Lindsey German stormed: “This is going to be one of the last acts of George Bush and it tells you everything you need to know about his presidency.

“Blair and Bush’s support for the war crimes in Gaza is just the latest in their criminal record and millions of people around the world would think it was more fitting to see Blair in handcuffs than receiving a medal.”

Left Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn added: “Nothing could be more appropriate than the most unpopular president in history presenting a medal to Tony Blair.

“Bush has started an illegal war in Iraq aided and abetted by Tony Blair. Blair was then made the West’s representative in Palestine and has done nothing to protect the Palestinian people from attacks.”

Mr Blair, who is currently the Middle East peace envoy for the so-called Quartet of the US, EU, Russia and the UN, urged the new US administration of president-elect Barack Obama to focus on the Middle East peace process on Tuesday, saying that the issue was “absolutely central” to global security and that “we have to grip it and sort it.”

But he declared that there could be no end to Israel’s brutal blitzkrieg until the “smuggling” of arms and money to the Hamas government in Gaza ceased and resistance to Israeli aggression was stamped out.

But Mr Galloway retorted: “This is absolute rubbish. The arms that the resistance have were taken from the security forces of Mahmoud Abbas and were given to them by Britain and the US in the hope that they would use them against Hamas.”

And the winners are:

Supported the war against Afghanistan, costing tens of thousands of lives.
Backed the illegal invasion of Iraq, costing over a million lives so far.
Complicit in the Israeli assault on Gaza, in which over 500 people have died.

Backed the illegal invasion of Iraq, costing over a million lives so far.
Passed raft of repressive anti-union legislation on behalf of big business.
Responsible for racist laws leading to brutal treatment of refugees.

Presided over the deaths of more than 600 trade unionists since election in 2002.
Accused of close links to notorious paramilitaries and drug traffickers.
Caused diplomatic crisis by bombing rebel camp in neighbouring Ecuador.